Ahead of this weekend’s FA Cup fourth round action, we’ve picked out four potential upsets which could be worth a flutter on…
An impressive 3-1 win at Bournemouth sealed Brighton’s place in the fourth round, but it was still a heavily rotated team that made the trip across the south coast to the Vitality Stadium.
With Chris Hughton, like most other managers of mid-table Premier League clubs, prioritising survival in the top tier over potential glory in the cup, West Brom could cause an upset on Saturday afternoon.
Brighton’s excellent home record at the Amex Stadium is one hurdle they will have to overcome; just seven top-flight clubs have amassed more points in front of their own fans than Albion this term, while only Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United have lost fewer games on their own patch.
It is worth remembering, though, that Hughton is likely to rest many of his first-teamers, particularly as his team face a crunch clash with Fulham on Tuesday.
The Seagulls have only advanced beyond this stage of the completion in one of their last four seasons, so West Brom – third in the Championship and the division’s top scorers – should be targeting victory this weekend.
After a miserable few years in which financial troubles threatened their very existence, Portsmouth are a club on the up once more.
The League One leaders are four points clear of third-placed Sunderland as they attempt to engineer a return to the Championship, a league they have not graced since the 2011/12 campaign.
Pompey have actually earned more points away from home than at Fratton Park this term, but they have still lost only three of their 14 league matches at their own stadium. Their overall defensive record also makes for positive reading, with fewer than a goal a game conceded in the third tier in 2018/19.
QPR, for their part, have picked up under Steve McClaren after a disastrous start to the season which featured four consecutive losses including a 7-1 reverse against West Brom.
The west Londoners are now safely ensconced in mid-table and could even make a push for the play-offs in the coming months, but a record of just four triumphs in 14 away games should give Portsmouth cause for optimism.
For a club who have not been in the top flight of English football since 1990, Millwall have done very well in cup competitions in the last decade and a half.
The south London outfit reached the final in 2004, the semi-finals in 2013 and the last eight in 2017, when they were denied another Wembley appearance by a rampant Tottenham Hotspur.
The Lions are no strangers to FA Cup giant-killing, then, and they will be primed to take advantage if Everton take their eye off the ball this weekend.
If the Toffees perform at the top of their game then they should come through this potential banana skin unscathed, but The Den is a tough place to go – Millwall have only lost four of 14 Championship games there this season – and Neil Harris’ men will pack men behind the ball and look to make life as difficult as possible for their top-flight opponents.
Championship high-fliers Leeds United, Derby County and Middlesbrough have all failed to emerge victorious in this corner of the capital in 2018/19, as have play-off hopefuls Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa.
A draw may be more likely than a win, but the odds available make it worth putting some money on Millwall coming out on top against Marco Silva’s charges.
The FA Cup fourth round weekend concludes with a London derby on Monday night.
Barnet are the last non-league side still standing in this year’s competition, and they will be quietly confident of causing another upset following their 1-0 victory over Sheffield United at Bramall Lane last time out.
After a disastrous run which brought just one win in 15 league games between mid-September and mid-December, Brentford seem to have turned a corner in recent weeks, going seven matches unbeaten in all competitions.
Nevertheless, they have still only won one league game away from home this campaign, which is something Barnet – unbeaten in their last five home encounters – will take inspiration from.
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